Emerging into the Light…

A valid question at this point would be where have you been the last three weeks? I don’t know if I have a valid one, just an answer. Finals. This week was finals week, and the one before that I had 2 major papers due. So, I have been writing, just not here or anywhere else worth mentioning. My last final was tonight and so begins my three weeks of semi vacation. I still have to work and I will not be going home for the holidays, but, no classes! Yea!

Has everyone heard that the Senate voted down the renewal of the Patriot Act? If not you can find the story here or here. I guess you’re opinion on the matter depends on how you perceive the current administration, your civil rights, and the relationship between the two. I for one am relieved and cautiously elated. The broad powers the Patriot Act gave to several government agencies and the administrations shaky, no, non-existent stand on civil liberties (most recently seen in Pres. Bush’s illegal authorization to allow the NSA to tap citizen’s phones), always gave me this Orwellian sense of impending doom. The republican machinery in the senate still plans on bringing the vote to the floor before the recess… I only hope those who voted it down today will continue to do so.

Let’s see what else, what else? I did some tinkering ’round with the desktop, mostly using Stardock products. While they offer a deep level of customization, in the end all the modifications were to buggy and CPU intensive for practical use. I just hope that Vista will be more customizable. For those who are serious into desktop customization, Stardock’s site isn’t a bad place to start, other sites worth mentioning would WinCustomize, Winstep, and Samurize. Like I said some of this stuff can hog precious CPU cycles. The aesthetic pleasure that these can provide wasn’t enough of a pay-off for me. The same can be said for programs like approcket and konfabulator.

I’ve recently be disappointed in oneword, there haven’t been any updates since my last post?! I guess they’re just as busy as I was. I hope that they’ll have a new one up soon. As soon as they do I’ll post my piece here. Also in regards to writing, I made my own oblique strategies deck. It is possible to find originals on eBay or to buy them from Eno himself. But I found it more economical to just browse through the digital deck and copy them down. I’m hoping these will help when I get blocked. As I start to use them I’ll report on how well it is working. A better schedule coming up soon, with I hope, consistent posting. Stay Tuned!

OneWord

While looking way for ways to practice my craft I stumbled upon oneword. Maybe stumble is the right word. The site was pointed out to me by Jonathan at stark raving calm, another writer who has devoted a large part of his blog to exploring his talent and helping others find theirs. oneword is good as an exercise because it only gives you one word and limits your time. You have sixty seconds to write the very first thing that pops into your head and to keep with it.

So here is my first oneword entry, the word was pane:

Pain. That’s all there is now. I know I’m rolling on the floor and I know they are still there. But all of that is secondary. All I can feel is the pain. It rises like flames and sets my mind afire.

I plan on putting this up on the blog from now on. Whenever a new word comes out. If you are interested in this sort of thing you should also check out poetc, a collaborative poem where everyone writes a line to the poem until a new one is started.

If on a whim you are interested at looking at some of my other writing, you should click here. This is my Deviant Art account where I post most of the writing I do.

Goblet of Fire, a look at Harry Potter and Latin

Tonight I went out with my family and saw Harry Potter at the local IMAX. Yes, we are lucky enough to live in an area with an IMAX no more than twenty minutes away. But that is not my point. I’m sure there are millions of reviews of the movie so I’ll leave such things to those better qualified. No this post is simply going to be about a single observation while watching the movie.
An observation which as a classical civilizations and Latin major I am qualified to make. I know something other than mere uneducated opinion?! It’s not as rare on the internet as you think.

In J.K. Rowling’s magical world magic seems to simple be a matter of inherent ability (genetic determination), a wand and a dead language. Not just any dead language though. No, the wizards that teach at Hogwarts and exist in the shadowy parts of the Muggle world all use Latin when they need to work their craft. This raises some interesting questions… Where the Latin people the first magic users? Was it their language that gave them the power? If so when did it become a genetic trait that? Was there no magic in the world until Latin evolved? What about it’s parent languages? Were they semi-magical?

In parts of the world where the Romans never went and Latin was never spoken was magic also absent? No Chinese wizards? No Aztec witches? Harry Potter is only a fictional character in a fictional world but the use of Latin as the language raises two points. The first is the mystic relationship westerners have today with the language. Anything sounds better in Latin and people who know it are automatically assumed to better in some sense the those who don’t. Secondly, and more pernicious is the eurocentric no, anglocentric view of the the books. Being optimistic I’m going to say that Rowling was acting unconsciously. Unaware that biases and prejudices she didn’t know she possessed were creeping into her novels. The entire book looks no further than the borders of Great Britain. With the control and government of the magical world to be a wholly British affair.

Giving in to Strangers

Why is it so easy for us to unburden ourselves to strangers? A conversation on a plane or train will lead to a heart to heart conversation with the person beside you, who you have known for only the extent of the trip. Afterwards you both walk away from the encounter never to see each other again but holding the deep secrets of the other in your palm. Yet your family does not know, nor your spouse or significant other. These strangers hold secrets you won’t tell, couldn’t tell them.

But, why?

I’m not a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist. I haven’t even had the “pleasure” of taking any psych classes here at UCD. My sole qualifications for my following comments are the ones we all have. I am human and I’ve dealt with the same issue. I’m seeing a therapist. Which is the same thing except now one of the strangers is getting paid. So without further ado my non-scientific theory. Fear. That is the sum of it. The stranger cannot hurt you or reject you. The stranger because he/she is alien to you and your social network has no bearing on it. It is just a person listening. This is not the same with family, friends or lovers. These are people who are deeply involved with you, connections that have roots deep within your emotional center. The consequences of their rejection or anger or even dismissal is equal to a rejection/dismissal of you.
No wonder we are such adept liars, or deceivers. It stems not from a poor character but from a sensitive one, one afraid of losing the small good that it has. An insecure soul who sees the shortcomings of itself in such a distorted sense that they will always outweigh the love and acceptance of those most important to it.

I wish I had an answer to these souls. Some easy trick or exercise which would allow them to shed their insecurities and enjoy the relationships they have with renewed vigor and strength, which can come from open honest communication. Regardless of the content of that communication. There is no simple pill though. Only the painful process of opening yourself to pain and rejection in order to find that love and acceptance.

The best of luck to all of us, and remember at some point we all will be the one looking for it.